Flea's real name is Michael Balzary and he was born in Melbourne, Australia. He met Slovak and Irons at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Phil Spector and Slash also went to Fairfax. The gym was used for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video.
Kiedis was born to actor Blackie Dammett and had some early acting roles in F.I.S.T. (1978) and Jokes My Folks Never Told Me (1978). You may not have recognized him because he was billed as Cole Dammett. His mother is part Apache Indian.
Flea has had an acting career. His resume includes: The Big Lebowski (as Nihilist), Back to the Future, Part II and Part III (as Douglas J. Needles), My Own Private Idaho (as Budd), Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (as The Ruined Man). He is also the voice of Donnie on movie and TV series The Wild Thornberrys.
Irons and Slovak formed a group called What Is This? as a side project in the early 1980s, which contractually prevented them from recording with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they quickly returned to the lineup to tour.
Hillel Slovak died of a speedball (heroin and cocaine) overdose 1988 on a European tour. Their drummer Jack Irons left soon after because he said, "I didn't want to be part of something where my friends were dying." That's when they replaced them with John Frusciante (guitarist), and Chad Smith (drums). John was eventually having drug problems and he left before they were able to start recording One Hot Minute so they replaced him with the former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, just for that album. Then in 1997 John came back to start their next album Californication. He has been with the band ever since. The only two members of the RHCP that have been with the band since the beginning have been Anthony Kiedis and Michael "Flea" Balzary. (thanks, Kyle - Boise, ID)
McKnight and Peligro were from Parliament-Funkadelic and the Dead Kennedys, respectively, but they didn't jive with the others. Frusciante was a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, who also happened to be an amazing guitarist, and they auditioned to find Chad Smith.
In 1989, Kiedis was convicted in Virginia of indecent exposure and sexual battery. In 1990, after an incident at MTV's Spring Break, Smith and Flea were found guilty of battery. Flea was also found guilty of disorderly conduct and solicitation to commit an unnatural and lascivious act. They had jumped offstage, picked up a woman and spanked her several times.
Navarro had been the guitarist for Jane's Addiction, and since his time with the Chili Peppers has returned to play with that group.
Slovak taught Flea to play bass. Flea was a trumpet prodigy who dreamed of being in a famous jazz band. He thought rock 'n' roll was for boneheads until Slovak turned him on with Jimi Hendrix and the Who. Flea has played the trumpet on records for Jane's Addiction and Mike Watt. (thanks, Matt - Wappingers Falls, NY)
The group's first name, with their original lineup, was Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.
One of the band's trademark live acts is playing onstage completely naked except for one strategically placed tube sock. This bit began in the early '80s when RHCP played gigs at a strip club called The Kit Kat, and it quickly became the most anticipated part of their act.
In their later years, they began wearing pants onstage, but the concept of the shirt still seemed to elude them. At the Woodstock concert in '99, Flea performed completely naked. (thanks, Colton - Puyallup, WA)
Frusciante (pronounced Froo-shon-tay) released a couple of solo albums during his mid-Nineties break from the band. This didn't stop his drug addiction, nor did it keep him for being homeless and broke. Only when he checked himself into rehab did he finally return to the band.
Anthony, Flea, and Hillel were once a band called "We Three." (thanks, Ben - Jeff City, MO)
After quitting RHCP on May 7, 1992, Frusciante spent most of his time painting, writing stories, figuring out mathematical equations and science theories, as well as writing scripts. (thanks, Glenn - Sydney, Australia)
Their first guitarist, Hillel Slovak, died of a heroin overdose. Their second guitarist, John Frusciante, left the band after Blood Sugar Sex Magik because of his heroin addiction. He was replaced by Dave Navarro, formerly the lead guitarist of Jane's Addiction. Frusciante eventually kicked his addiction and returned to the band for Californication. (thanks, Andy - Arlington, VA)
In 2001, Flea founded the nonprofit Silverlake Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, which offers music lessons and instruments to children in need.
After seeing a documentary explaining how meat is made, Kiedis became a vegetarian. In 2008, he was named Sexiest Male Vegetarian Alive by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
In late 2009, John Frusciante announced his exit from the band. In his post on his blog, he revealed that he had quit the group more than a year ago and mentioned a desire to make a different kind of music, alone. He's put out 10 solo discs in the last 15 years, and six since 2004. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Dave Navarro's first performance with the band was with a giant light bulb on his head. This took place when they appeared at Woodstock '94 donning the unusual headgear. Navarro was not pleased; "We forced him to do it" Kiedis said from the stage.
Flea and Kiedis appeared in the 1994 comedy The Chase, as two stoners hellbent on chasing down fugitive Charlie Sheen's runaway car with their monster truck.